It's winter, and my body is craving hearty soups. I decided to make some thick lentil soup loaded with barley, veggies, and believe it or not, wakame seaweed. The seaweed adds tons of nutrition to the soup, and you would never guess it was there. I swear. Once the soup has been simmering for a while, the seaweed kind of breaks up and dissolves into the soup. It disappears, so nobody has to know your secret. Kombu seaweed could be substituted for the wakame, brown rice could be substituted for the barley, and other veggies and herbs can be thrown into the stew. I just used what I had available, but please alter the recipe to your liking.
LENTIL-BARLEY SOUP WITH A SEAWEED SURPRISE
-6 cups water
-1 1/4 cups uncooked lentils, rinsed
-1 1/2 cups pearled barley, cooked
-1 large carrot, diced
-1 large onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-3 teaspoons dried wakame flakes
-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-1 teaspoon dried thyme
-1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Mix all ingredients EXCEPT BARLEY in a large pot. Cover with a lid and bring to a rolling boil. Lower soup to a gentle boil, cover with a lid, and stir occasionally. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until soup thickens and lentils are tender. Add cooked barley. Ladle about half of the soup into a food processor and puree. Pour pureed soup back into the pot and mix with non-pureed soup. You can puree as much or as little soup as you want. Your decision dictates how chunky the end product will be.
Ladle soup into an over-sized mug and top with crumbled crackers. I used multi grain pita chips. The soup was delicious!